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Rules and reality: quantifying the practice of apprenticeship in early modern Europe

  • Chris Minns
  • Patrick Wallis

This paper uses recently digitised samples of apprentices and masters in London and Bristol to quantify the practice of apprenticeship in the late 17th century. Apprenticeship appears much more fluid than is traditionally understood. Many apprentices did not complete their terms of indenture; late arrival and early departure from the master’s household was widespread. Other apprentices appear to have been absent temporarily, returning to the master shortly before the end of their indenture. Regression analysis indicates that the patterns of presence and absence are broadly reflective of the resources and outside opportunities available to apprentices.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27865/
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 27865.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:27865
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/

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  1. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2002. "Guilds, Efficiency, and Social Capital: Evidence from German Proto-Industry," CESifo Working Paper Series 820, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Wallis, Patrick, 2008. "Apprenticeship and Training in Premodern England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 832-861, September.
  3. Elbaum, Bernard, 1989. "Why Apprenticeship Persisted in Britain But Not in the United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(02), pages 337-349, June.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Joern-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labor Markets," Working papers 98-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2007. "'Whatever is, is right'? Economic institutions in pre-industrial Europe -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 60(4), pages 649-684, November.
  6. Hamilton, Gillian, 2000. "The Decline of Apprenticeship in North America: Evidence from Monetreal," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 627-664, September.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521434508 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Sheilagh Ogilvie, 2008. "Rehabilitating the guilds: a reply," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 61(1), pages 175-182, 02.
  9. Hickson, Charles R. & Thompson, Earl A., 1991. "A new theory of guilds and european economic development," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 127-168, April.
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